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Articles tagged "Death"

From “The March of Time”

And so the answer is revealed, to the riddle asked only once in a lifetime (one of the biggest questions in life, perhaps the biggest): your husband Chang Te-Mo will appear again after his death. What kind of ghost will he be? (And here it comes, here it comes, the question in return: “What kind of person was he?”) After the body is cleaned, it’s time to escort him to the morgue. You tell him, “Chang Te-Mo, it’s all right now.” For the last time, you...

The Time Left

They were hard to push down, the buttons. Stiff, you might say. Marcelinho strained and scrunched his face, and succeeded. It still worked, even after everything. The buttons had always been stiff, even before Ricardo’s death. The little door was cracked, and behind the plastic Marcelinho said he saw some bloodstains, still. “Don’t be daft, son. That thing’s clean as a whistle. And be grateful that piece of junk still works.” Work is too ambiguous a word....

Death in the Amazon

The Assassination 1. They’ve set up the ambush by a small bridge across a stream. They’ve been hiding among the trees since early morning—and they’re lying in wait. They know that José Cláudio and Maria will have to slow down here. That’s when the first shot is fired. Discharged from a hunting rifle, the bullet hits both of them at once: it goes through Maria’s hand and lodges near the left wall of José Cláudio’s...

The God of Tar and Bone

a man standing on the tracks stares at a train as it advances with a moan of metal and night the iron moves the blind diesel thrusts the siren wails the feverish headlight lights up and splits the chest of the earth and forest but the man stays still before the apparatus still ten meters left and he just stares and stares at the invention that will chop him split him shatter him he lacks no strength or ability     to thrust his body to one side he can jump run dodge save...

From “The Dove-Text”

The Arabophone poet Abdallah Zrika composed a volume of French prose poems, La Colombe du texte (The Dove-Text), during his three-month residency at the Centre International de la Poésie Marseille in 2002. The following is an extract. The highest degree of solitude is not reached when you cannot open the door for more than two days, but when no fly enters through the window. I do not know the degree of solitude of the trees around me, or if they haven’t known...

Finale

Marisia (M), a young Slovak woman working in Vienna, tries to find her bearings in life as she comes to terms with her mother’s terminal illness. In this excerpt, the narrator has just learned that mother has passed away in a hospital in Bratislava. It seems unbelievable, but my mom’s death caught me unawares. Despite my conversation with the doctor, who gave me the prognosis in the hospital corridor, even as Mom was lying bald and emaciated in the hospital...

Nom de Guerre: Butterfly

That evening, I was sitting on my bed. Tala was jumping up and down on her bed next to mine, making it squeak annoyingly. She was jabbering away but I wasn’t following what she was saying because I was busy building my own world inside my head. Tala kept running in and out of the room. I didn’t notice how long she was gone. I just sat there, lost in thought. That is, until the time the sound of Salim sobbing came into the room before Tala did. As soon as I saw him, I hurried...

The Book of Denial

This story is the worst story in the world—it's just terrible. For those who don't like tragic stories, this book has a happy ending on a page near the end. I recommend you don't keep reading after it. * My mother always told me that there are books that are not for children. I didn't understand this until yesterday, when I secretly read the book my father is writing. * The Book of Denial his book is called . . . but, it wasn't because of the title that I...

Counting Out

I’ve got a surprise for you, she said. We came out onto the main road, the empty main road. I gave a blank reply: a surprise? Get a move on! Nintso sounded impatient. We’ve got stuff to do and I want to show you my surprise. OK, I said. But on one condition. Fine, she said, tell me later. Why are you going this way, I asked. They’ll see us. The other way takes longer. Nintso, I said, they’ll see us. Fine. Nintso looked at me wide-eyed. Fine. We went round the other...

Lament

He was fifty-four years old with a sound mind and a body that was rotting away. He died. He wasn’t young enough to have required a specific cause of death, or young enough to cause great sadness. Only a vague sadness existed about death itself. He died at fifty-four years of age, and he had no one who would be sad about his death. There was no one who would remember him. Because he had already died he couldn’t even claim ownership over such people. Death meant losing all things,...

The Suit

My friend F’s call came in the middle of December, when the snow would not stop coming down and Manhattan was all but paralyzed. He said he had to get to New York right away but couldn’t find a hotel room since it was Christmas, and he asked if he could stay with us for a few days. My wife and I were living in a one-bedroom apartment so all we had to offer was a loveseat in the living room, but we told him he could come if he was OK with that. I wouldn’t say that F and I...

War

Men plan wars And women survive in the rubble One day there will be no men And a woman will pursue another In search of the scent of the last man Who touched his lips to her neck. © Manal Al-Sheikh. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2014 by Angham A. Abdullah. All rights reserved. 

On Death

When we die the words we haven’t said yet turn to bubbles to inflate the body and smuggle it from the grave while the cemetery keeper sleeps. But we run up against the stone slab over our bodies, which refuses to budge. So we turn to the insects for help though we’re not very fond of them; a worm here, another there,
 and each one gnaws at one of these words and leaves nothing behind— 
 nothing but erasers piling up to form a skeleton that comes home from...

Downtown

My share of sleep: four hours eleven minutes.
 I roll my pierced heart across the bedcover: it slams into the door, leaving
 a line of mud behind. I believe a tree
 will come one night and stop
 beside the line.
 Another tree
 will follow,
 and a third,
 a fourth, a ninth, etc.
 One night the line will grow
 and become a street. One night while I’m sleeping friends will stream out of my head
 and into the street to...

A Stray Bullet

After crossing the living room, the library, the corridor and the photo that brings us together on a trip to Nahr al-Kalb, and after passing by the washer and my mother (exhausted in spite of the washer), a stray bullet veered slightly off course— by the force of gravity— and finally settled in my head to kill you there. © Mazen Maarouf. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2014 by Kareem James Abu-Zeid and Nathalie Handal. All rights reserved.

Spirit Summoning, Part V

Yoko asked my name. Usually I’d stop and think about it, make a point of recalling the name. This time I decided not to. I didn’t think, didn’t search for the name. Didn’t try to respond. I wanted to see what would happen. Yoko grew annoyed as I just sat there. If I kept it up much longer it would kill the atmosphere of the summoning. Just as that thought crossed my mind, my mouth started to move. “Ito,” it said. “Ito? The spirit’s name is...

Reflections: Juan Gelman

Yesterday, just before the first full moon of the year, Argentine poet-in-exile Juan Gelman died; and last night, my head was full of extraordinary images of Juan. First, I remembered 1975, when Eduardo Galeano gave me a copy of Juan’s Obra poética “to see how it would work in English.” It didn’t. It would take years for me to comprehend and translate the depth, the tenderness, the musicality, the playfulness—in short, the life of these poems. In...

Balm of a Long Farewell

1 The tiny oval of Orefine has a remarkable number of canals. The island once served as a center for the islands nearby, many of them even tinier. In this network, the earth dug from the canals was used to fill in the shallow straits and connect some of the islands. The main canal, Canale Grande, went through Orefine in an elongated S. On every island, this shape created backwaters in the larger canals to protect ships from rough seas. The Orefine main canal didn’t merit the name...

Father’s Chair

The table is set, immaculate, serene. Nobody's seated yet and it will be a little while until anybody does sit down and tuck in. But the time has come for us to sit together and eat together and move on. The house carries on. The convenience and grocery stores carry on. So too the bills, the expenses. Two days have gone by without anyone in the house crying. When I go through the living room at night my mother's bedroom light is off. Silence. She sleeps, everyone sleeps. In this...

Be Quiet, Soldiers

At the Ajeerda divide, the strip of land that separates the marshes on the eastern side, east of the city of Amarah, we were gathered into deeply dug-out positions. Thousands of soldiers, dressed in khaki uniforms, we were packed together, drenched by the rain, with our helmets and weapons. We placed ourselves in various positions, small sandbags above us, their exposed sides submerged in water and mud. The mud was so deep that we sank into it up to our thighs. The rain hadn’t...

Social Skills

The Dodge Dart parked on the crosswalk with its right front wheel up on the curb and the fender touching the lamppost. Doña Mercedes, sitting in the passenger seat, opened the door and let out a snort. “Your driving is getting worse and worse, Hija. You’re really showing your age,” she said, although Felisa was eighteen years her junior. Felisa was Doña Mercedes’s maid, cook and, when necessary, driver. Petite, somewhat hunched, with a mousy face,...

The Man Who Buried Himself

It was extraordinary, the change that came over my friend. The jovial, witty, and carefree youth had become a melancholic, taciturn, and cautious man. His moments of abstraction were frequent, and in them it seemed as if his spirit were wandering the paths of another world. One of our friends, a diligent reader and decipherer of Browning, remembering the strange piece in which the poet tells us of the life of Lazarus after he was resurrected, would often say that poor Emilio had visited...

Bird’s Nest

Luminous missionaries our sexual bodies perfect as a bird's nest carnivorous, incomparable.   The bodies of virgins hold all the dreams the honeyed bodies of whores hold all the men The bodies of ladies hold one man and charm thousands The bodies of dust of the dead where worms sigh The bodies of pregnant women brimming with knowledge of creation The world created through a circle.   “Nido de pájaros” © Aurora Arias. By...

2093

He lies and dreams. A great ash tree spreads out its crown and girls come with buckets and water its roots. He tosses and turns, then looks up. Beside him sits a gray-haired woman, stroking his hand. The veins stand out like those on a leaf. “You’re as beautiful as ever, Dísa dear,” he says, closing his eyes. They always used to dance in the kitchen. His daughters wet a cloth and wash his feet. He lies still, thinking about Arctic terns. *** I walk into the...

January 19th

Hildur is seven. She says when people die they lie motionless in a coffin –she shows me how–forever in heaven. She says she’s preparing herself. She says she will pick a very comfortable position. © Sigurbjorg Þrastardottir. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2011 by T. Zachary Cotler. All rights reserved.

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